Visas, Customs, Quarantine and GST Refund
International travellers to Australia must have a valid passport and conform with relevant visa types and regulations as administered by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship. Below is information regarding visas, customs, quarantine and refund of the goods and services tax (GST)
Visa requirements are subject to change at any time and tourists should call the consulate for up to date information.
Yellow fever vaccination: Yellow fever is a quarantinable disease under the Quarantine Act 1908. Australia requires any person over one year of age to hold an individual international yellow fever vaccination certificate if they have, within six days prior to their arrival in Australia, stayed overnight or longer in a declared yellow fever infected country. A fact sheet and list of declared yellow fever infected countries can be found here.
A visa must be obtained before travelling to Australia. Payment must accompany your application and is not refunded if the application is unsuccessful. A list of fees is available from the Immigration Department.
A visitor visa may be in the form of a label, placed in your passport. A visa may be for a single entry or for multiple entries. The type of visa, length of stay, conditions and number of entries will be indicated on your visa label or in the letter the department will send you if you are granted the visa.
There are a number of visas available for people to visit Australia as a tourist.
To find out which visa is right for you try the Departments Visa Wizard.
If you are planning a holiday visit or a short business trip to Australia, you will need to apply for either a visa or an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority). An ETA will let you spend up to three months in Australia.
You can apply for a tourist visa with a form 48r
Medical treatment in Australia can be very expensive. It is recommended that you take out health insurance for you and your family for the period of stay in Australia. You will not be covered by Australia’s national health scheme, unless you are covered by a reciprocal health care agreement.
Do not carry illicit drugs.
Penalties for drug offences in Australia are severe and could result in a jail term.
It is illegal to carry drugs including marijuana, cannabis, heroin, cocaine and amphetamines in and out of Australia.
Documents required for Customs clearance
All arriving and departing passengers must complete (in English) an Incoming or Outgoing Passenger Card. Examples of these, with translations, can be seen here.
If you hold an Australian or New Zealand ePassport and are aged 16 years or over, you are eligible to use SmartGate when arriving at Australian airports. SmartGate allows you to self-process through passport control using ePassport data and facial recognition technology.
All other travellers must present their passport and completed Incoming Passenger Card to a Customs and Border Protection officer on arrival before collecting their baggage.
When you reach your port of arrival into Australia, you need to present your passport and completed Incoming Passenger Card to Customs and Border Protection. When permanently leaving the ship, at either the first or subsequent ports, you need to present your baggage and Incoming Passenger Card to Customs and Border Protection for clearance.
In some cases Customs and Border Protection officers may check your passport and Incoming Passenger Card on board the vessel before arrival in an Australian port.
What you must declare.
You must declare all firearms, weapons and ammunition.
All performance and image enhancing drugs must be declared on arrival.
Highly offensive pornography is controlled on import and export. This includes publications and any media which depicts child pornography, bestiality, and explicit sexual violence.
There is no limit to the amount of currency you can bring in or out of Australia. However, you must declare amounts of A$10,000 or more in Australian currency or foreign equivalent. You must disclose any promissory notes, travellers’ cheques, personal cheques, money orders, postal orders or other bearer negotiable instruments, regardless of value, if requested by a Customs and Border Protection officer or police officer.
If bringing medicine into Australia you need to check what regulations apply. On entering Australia you need to declare all drugs and medicines including prescription medications, alternative, herbal and traditional medicines, vitamin and mineral preparation formulas to Customs and Border Protection. Some products require a permit or quarantine clearance and/or a letter or prescription from your doctor describing your medication and medical condition.
A fact sheet for arriving travellers is available here.
Further information regarding medicines is available on the Department of Health website.
Tasmania's status as a relatively isolated island state has seen the benefit of being free of many pests and diseases which other countries have to deal with.
In order to stay free of these pests and diseases the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industry, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) has introduced some of the worlds most stringent quarantine regulations.
Strict controls are in place governing what can be brought into the state from overseas and from the mainland.
Items that are controlled or restricted include fruit and vegetables, seeds and cut flowers.
There are also regulations concerning fishing equipment, wood products, soils, fish and animals.
For a complete guide to what you can and can't bring into Tasmania check out the Travellers' guide to quarantine in Tasmania
Tourist Refund Scheme (tax)
The Australian Government as one of its revenue streams has a goods and services tax (GST), which is a value added tax (VAT), of 10%, that applies to nearly all goods and services purchased in Australia. with the exception of most groceries and health services.
The Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS) lets you claim a refund of the (GST) and wine equalisation tax (WET), subject to certain conditions, that you pay on goods you buy in Australia.
To claim a refund you must :
Have spent $AU300 (GST inclusive) or more in the one store with all items on a single tax invoice.
Have bought the goods no more than 30 days before your departure.
Carry or wear the goods on board the aircraft or ship and present them along with your original tax invoice, international boarding pass and passport to a Customs Officer at a TRS facility.
Claims at seaports should be made no earlier than 4 hours and no later than 1 hour prior to the scheduled departure time of the vessel.
Claims at airports are available up to 30 minutes prior to the scheduled departure of your flight.
For more information view the Australian Customs and Border Protection TRS information page.